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'I can't be an impartial juror, no way' | Who's being selected, who's not to serve on jury in death of Ahmaud Arbery trial

The following are notes from inside the courtroom as potential jurors are interviewed for the trial of three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery.
Stock photo of jury box.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Editor's Note: The following are notes taken by the pool reporter assigned to the trial against Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael and William Bryan. First Coast News has removed some details to help protect the identities of potential jurors.

RELATED: Day 4 | Notes from the courtroom during jury selection in death of Ahmaud Arbery trial

Day Three: 

Court Proceedings Begin

  • The third day of jury selection starts just after 9:00 a.m. 
  • Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley is on the bench in the assembly room. 
  • Attorneys are questioning Panel #4 (Panel #3, what would have been yesterday's afternoon group, was completely released to my knowledge.)
  •  Walmsley tells the group juror #162 will possibly defer due to medical issues.

Group Questioning

  • Walmsley opens by trying to reassure jurors the court understands their concerns about safety, explaining voir dire and swears them in.
  • Nearly a dozen jurors (#150, 152, 156, 146, 161, 164, 167, 170, 172, 175 and 176) raise their hands to indicate they have formed or expressed an opinion about the case. 
  • Five indicate their "mind is not perfectly impartial" between the state and the defense (#146, 150, 152, 156 and 158) 
  • Several potential jurors indicate to prosecutor Linda Dunikoski they know some of the high-profile figures or witnesses involved in the case.
  • Jurors #146 and 161 knew Arbery and jurors #164 and 172 know his father Marcus Arbery Sr.
  • Juror #161 says he personally knows one of the defendants. Jurors #172 and 175 know Amy Elrod, William Roddie Bryan's fiancée.
  • Three jurors (#158, 170 and 172) say they know of defense attorney Kevin Gough. Several (#143, 146, 158, 161 and 167) know Chief Rod Ellis. Juror #150 indicates he knows current Brunswick DA Keith Higgins. Jurors #138 and 161 know former DA Jackie Johnson.
  • Many know other potential jurors (#172, 164, 158, 138, 140, 146, 148 and 161).
  • Several (#150, 143, 158, 176) served in the military or have prior law enforcement training or experience (#143, 158, and 167).
  • A few (#139, 156, 164, and 170) have been victims of burglary or home invasion or know someone who has (#139, 153 and 175.)
  • When asked if anyone wants to serve on this jury, no one raises their hands.
  •  Two jurors (#156 and 148) raise their hands to indicate they are over 70 and don't wish to serve and several others indicate they have a hardship or conflict that may prevent them from serving.
  • Several of the same jurors indicate to defense attorney Jason Sheffield that they have negative feeling about Travis McMichael (#148, 150, 152, 156, 164, 167, 170, 172 and 176), Greg McMichael (#148, 150, 156, 164, 167, 170, 172, and 176) and Roddie Bryan (#148, 150, 156, 164, 167, 170, 172 and 176).
  • None say they have participated in racial justice demonstrations.
  • One juror voices a concern about being identified in the media.
  • Sheffield and Walmsley reassure him jurors will remain anonymous.
  • When Sheffield asks the group later if serving on the jury will cause a problem in their life, no one raises a hand.
  • After a short recess, Arbery's father arrives. Several jurors (#156, 143, 146, 164, 167 and 172) indicate to Sheffield they support Black Lives Matter and a few ) say they feel POC are treated differently by the criminal justice system (#172 176, 148 and 150) or by police (#148, 150, 156, 164, 167, 176). 
  • None of the jurors say they feel the old Georgia state flag is a racist symbol.
  • A few say psychiatrists can find mental illness in just about anybody (#140, 150, 152, 139 and 167). 

Juror 138

  • Juror 138 is a Black man in his 40s.
  • He knows former DA Jackie Johnson from a previous experience serving jury duty and a few other jurors. 
  • Has no firearms in his home.
  • He tells Franklin Hogue he has seen the video of Arbery's death 6 times on the news, but has not sought it out. 
  • Based on the video, he believes Arbery was "minding his own business" while out for a jog when he "got interrupted." 
  • He agrees with Hogue that the video tells the whole story. Hogue notes on his questionnaire he wrote "guilty, they killed him." 
  • "You could not give fair consideration to a self-defense claim?" Hogue asks.
  • "No." he responds, later agreeing that this is his "definite and fixed opinion.
  • When asked by Kevin Gough if he believes Bryan also killed Arbery, the juror says "they did it as a team."
  • Juror 138 rejoins the panel. 
  • Sheffield notes for the record that the juror appeared to give a thumbs up and a nod to the Arbery family on his way out of the courtroom and then moves to strike the juror for cause. 
  • Judge agrees to strike him for cause because he was definite in his position on the video telling the whole story, believes the defendants were guilty and indicated he could not consider self-defense.

Juror 139

  • Juror 139 is a white man in his 40s. 
  • He identifies as a law enforcement officer but does not have arrest powers and is not POST certified. 
  • He is his father's primary care giver and it's highly unlikely someone will be able to take care of him if he is selected for jury duty. 
  • He rejoins the panel.
  •  State moves to strike him from cause, defense consents, and judge strikes him.

Juror 140

  • Juror 140 is a Black man in his 30s or 40s.
  • He owns a firearm. 
  • He knows some of the other jurors.
  • He has lived here for 11 years and said he came from the Bronx, NYC. Married with children.
  • Learned about the case through the news, not social media.
  • He has seen the video of Arbery's death 3 times. 
  • "Do you personally have any opinion about the guilt or innocence of the defendants based on what you've seen in the media?" Dunikoski asks."No," he responds.
  • He tells Franklin Hogue he is able to set aside what he saw on the news.
  • Hogue asks him why he indicated in group questioning that he believes mental health professionals can find mental illness in just about anybody.
  • At first, he indicates that psychiatrists can find something wrong with you even if nothing is wrong with you then concedes that most people have some kind of mental illness.
  • "My personal opinion is there is something wrong with everybody," he said.
  • He tells Hogue he does not have an opinion on whether police treat white people and POC equally, it varies by area. "I can't really comment on the police job because I know they do have a difficult job," he said.
  • Gough asks him about some of his Facebook friends including County Commissioner Allen Booker, Theawanza Brooks (Arbery's aunt), a mayoral candidate (did not catch their name), an unnamed local celebrity, and John Perry, president of local NAACP. He said he doesn't know them.
  • Juror 140 rejoins the panel. No motions at this time.

Juror 143

  • Juror 143 is a Black man in his early 40s.
  • Has previously served on a jury. 
  • Once witnessed what appeared to be a robbery or theft. Owns "a few" firearms, regularly carries a gun. 
  • Originally from Glynn County.
  • He has seen the video at least twice on the news and social media. 
  • He agrees with prosecutors that what he saw is not evidence. 
  • When asked if he could base his decision based on the evidence in the courtroom and follow the law, he agrees.
  • He explains to prosecutors that he indicated he supports BLM earlier because he has participated in events related to Juneteenth.
  • He tells Hogue he never had to brandish his weapon during his time as a cop, but agrees the arrests sometimes got confrontational because not everybody wants to be arrested. 
  • Hogue asks if he's able to consider a self-defense or citizen's arrest defense.
  • "Police ain't always present. Sometimes you need good people that exist," he responds.
  • Gough asks about one of the jurors relatives (seems like Gough may have encountered the relative in court in the past). He tells Gough he doesn't know him or know anything about that. 
  • Juror 143 rejoins the panel. No motions made on him. 
  • Update on Juror 162 who has a cold, and will be returning early next week.
  • Court breaks. Returning back at 1:30 p.m.

Juror 146

  • Juror 146 is struck for cause by consent because of answers to her questionnaire and in general voir dire. 
  • She is a white woman in her 30s or 40s. 
  • She told Gough she has young children and has "no idea" how she'll care for them if selected to serve.
  • She went to school with Ahmaud Arbery but she did not know him well.

 Juror 148 

  • Juror 148 is struck for cause by consent because he is over 70 and told prosecutors he does not want to serve.

Juror 156

  • State also moved to strike Juror 156 because they are over 70 and said they do not wish to serve. 
  • Lawyers agree to bring them in to reaffirm they do not wish to serve.

Juror 150

  • Juror 150 is a white man in his 60s. 
  • He knows one of the witnesses in the case (Keith Higgins). 
  • He said it bothers him that the defendants weren't arrested immediately. 
  • He's already formed an opinion on the case which he agrees is fixed and can't be changed.
  • "It was a horrible event. I've seen the video, I'm very familiar with it," he tells prosecutors. "I can't be an impartial juror, no way."
  • He rejoins the panel.

Juror 152

  • Juror 152 appears to be a white man 60s or 70s.  
  • He said he has formed an opinion based on reading, listening, researching and following news coverage closely as it unfolded. 
  • He has negative opinions about Travis McMichael because "he shot Arbery and it wasn't warranted," but doesn't have an opinion either way about Greg McMichael or Bryan.
  • "I think what they did was unwarranted and they're guilty. I don't know about all three," he said. "I think it would be difficult to change my mind."
  • "I do not feel like I could be fair and impartial," he later tells the state.
  • He said he fears there will be only one verdict that's acceptable in today's climate and if that verdict is not returned, Congresswomen will fly down here and threaten violence "again" (I think this is maybe a reference to Maxine Waters comments during the Chauvin trial, but he doesn't specify) and the president will weigh in. 
  • "The jury is in a tough spot once they're convened," he said.
  • Prosecutors noted that in one of his responses to the questionnaire he wrote, "government can't be trusted." "The government frequently pursues one avenue of investigation."
  • He rejoins the panel.

 Juror 156

  • Juror 156 is a white man in his 70s. He tells the state he does not want to serve on the jury.  

Juror 158

  • Juror 158 is a white man 70s or 80s. He tells prosecutors he knows Rod Ellis and is familiar with Gough, but doesn't know him personally. 
  • Worked in Florida for many years. Prior military training.
  • He tells prosecutors he has watched the video and recalls watching the GBI talk about the case on television, but he honestly believes he could make a decision based solely on the evidence. 
  • He later tells defense attorneys he has experienced cases in his job where someone might think they know what happened based on a video or portion of a video, but not actually have all the facts.
  • "There's a whole lot about this case I don't know," he said. Hogue later notes he indicated on his questionnaire his knowledge of the case is 7/10.
  • Hogue also asked about the opinions discussed with friends, family and coworkers. 
  • "It was all you could see or hear or read," the juror responds. "A lot of conversation that I had with coworkers was 'what do you think the truth is'?"
  • He told Hogue he has never encountered a citizen's arrest case during his time as a law enforcement officer and would be able to fairly consider a self-defense or citizen's arrest case.
  • Hogue tried to ask why he thinks this case has gotten so much media attention, but the state objects and the judge sends the juror out of the room. 
  • Hogue tells the judge he wants to ask the question because he believes the juror will say its due to the racial aspects of the case.
  • He later told Hogue he has not formed any opinion about whether or not race factors into this case.
  • After brief questioning by Gough, he rejoins the panel.

Juror 160

  • Juror 160 is a white woman in her 40s or 50s. 
  • She is worried about missing work. Married with two children. She is nervous and gets emotional. The judge tries to reassure her, saying this can be "a bit of an overwhelming process."
  • "When people's lives are at stake and somebody got killed it's really hard," she later tells defense attorneys.
  • At the beginning of the state's questioning, she says she does not have an opinion about the defendant's guilt or innocence.
  •  She acknowledges she has watched the video three or four times and it looked like "things were very wrong in the incident." 
  • "I'm leaning more towards guilty, but I'm still undetermined," she said. Dunikoski notes on the questionnaire the juror wrote the defendants "are definitely guilty." She says she may be open to changing her mind.
  • Hogue asks about her "definitely guilty" response. He tells her she will likely see the video during the trial and asks how that will affect her. She says it could.
  • She says her family feels the defendants were guilty, "but we don't know all the facts." He asks if she can be completely fair and impartial. She replies that she can't say "100%."
  • After brief questioning by Gough about where in town she works, she rejoins the panel.

Note: Sheffield said 64 qualified jurors is the magic number.

Juror 161

  • Juror 161 is white man in his 40s or 50s.
  •  He also knows former DA Jackie Johnson professionally, Greg McMichael professionally/personally, Bryan professionally, Chief Rod Ellis, Officer Vincent (sp?) and other jurors. 
  • He owns guns. 
  • He searched for the video to watch it after hearing about it through the media. 9/10 knowledge of this case. 
  • Dunikoski notes he wrote on the questionnaire that he believes the incident started as a citizen's arrest (which he told prosecutors is because of Greg's relationship with law enforcement) and "ended in a murder."
  • He said his opinion, which is based on the video, could change based on evidence in the courtroom.
  • Rubin asks more about his interactions with Arbery through his son's sports team, how often he watched the video, and if he meant to imply the defendant's guilt by using the term murder on his questionnaire. 
  • He tells Rubin he won't feel pressure from his job or anywhere else about the verdict and he's not concerned about any effects. 
  • Gough asks him if he understands the difference between the legal term murder and homicide, he says no.
  •  Gough asks if he has formed an opinion as to whether this was a homicide or murder, the juror responds that he should have said "killed" on the questionnaire. 
  • Gough asks specifically about his thoughts on the guilty or innocence of Bryan, the juror said he has not formed an opinion.
  • Juror 161 rejoins the panel.

Juror 164

  • Juror 164 is a Black woman in her 50s or 60s. 
  • She knows Marcus Arbery Sr and his sister from school.
  •  Knows another juror. Her family member is in law enforcement. 
  • She has witnessed a break-in.
  • She tells prosecutors she's not sure she can base her decision solely on evidence presented in the courtroom.
  •  She agrees that people should be innocent until proven guilty, but she also believes in what she's seen (on video) which "seems to be guilty to me."
  • "I don't think so because of what I already feel about it and what I've seen," she said. "I don't think so."
  • Prosecutors ask her why she indicated she has negative feelings about the defendants.
  • "I just feel like what was done was wrong, he wasn't given a fair chance," she said. "I just feel like they railroaded him, it was almost like a lynching to me."
  • She said it would be hard to put aside her feelings in the case. The state asks if she would try. "It would just be hard," she replies.
  • When asked if her opinion could change if the evidence showed they were not guilty, she said she would still feel they were guilty.
  • She rejoins the panel.
  • The judge gets a note while the state is questioning Juror 164 and asks to talk to the lawyers.  

Juror 167

  • Juror 167 told prosecutors she has "not really" formed an opinion on guilt or innocence. Based on what she's seen, she said "rights were possibly ... violated."
  • She indicated police do not treat POC and white people the same earlier. "There are some [officers] that have a bias," she tells prosecutors.
  • When asked about her response to the question about psychiatrists finding mental illness in just about anyone she says: "I think we're all a little crazy to a certain degree." But said they would not manufacture something that's not really there.
  • She told prosecutors and the defense she's willing to consider possible defenses presented in this case, including self-defense.
  • When asked why she indicated she has negative feelings toward one or more of the defendants, she replied: "I feel that based on what I've seen I think they may have taken the actions further than it needed to be, but I don't know all the facts."
  • Re: her negative feelings about Greg McMichael, she tells Hogue: "I don't really know the person, but I have to admit someone taking someone else's life to me is a serious offense."
  • Hogue asks her about her earlier response that Arbery's rights were violated. She said she needs all the facts to make a judgement on this.
  • Hogue asks her opinions about the amount of time Jackie Johnson took to recuse herself.  
  • She said she doesn't remember exactly how events unfolded but "she should have laid her cards all out on the table and let the judge make the decision."
  • She also expressed support for BLM earlier. Hogue asks her if race plays a part in this case. "Possibly."
  • "Explain that for me. How so?" he said.
  • "I think if it was a white man running, I don't think anybody would have thought twice about it," she said.
  • He asks if they are you of the opinion they went after Arbery because he was Black.
  • "I don't know if that was the sole factor," she said.
  • He asks where that opinion fits in her decision making. "The facts would speak for themselves."
  • She tells Hogue based on conversations with others about the case, they came to the conclusion a crime had happened but that won't impact her decision making because they don't have all the facts.
  • Gough asks what negative feelings she has about Bryan. "I guess I really don't understand why he was there."

Juror 168

  • She tells prosecutors she does not know enough to form an opinion about the case. Said she is able to consider defenses presented in the case and there is no reason she can't be fair and impartial.
  • "I don't have an opinion I've not formed one," she said. 
  • Franklin Hogue asks about her conversation with family about the case. She said they are "occasional, brief and general" conversations about what was in the news, not a discussion of guilt or innocence, which did not influence her own opinion.
  • Hogue asks if the video left an impression. She says no, "nothing that overly impressed me. It was a horrible situation as everyone thinks but nothing is ever as it seems to be. I take things with a grain of salt until proven otherwise."
  • She tells Hogue she can give "fair and meaningful consideration" to self defense. 
  • Asked if there is anything that could prevent her from being fair and impartial she says: "I don't think so. I think that everybody is entitled to a fair trial. I think everybody is entitled to have their stories heard and be judged accordingly."
  • She says she does not have concerns about the aftermath of the verdict.
  • Rubin asks about her social media. She says she has not posted or liked anything about the case.
  • Gough asks if she has formed an opinion about Bryan. She says she doesn't know anything about him she only knows what she's read in the paper.
  • She rejoins the panel.

Juror 170

  • He tells prosecutors he and Gough are connected on Facebook but doesn't believe they have met. He has been a witness in a previous trial. 
  • He said he's heard the "essential facts of the case" but hasn't done much more research. 
  • He read the initial NYT article and some of the follow up and "how it was portrayed it seemed not like a good situation."
  • Prosecutors ask about his negative feelings of the McMichaels.
  • "Based on what I've I wouldn't say its a strong opinion just seems from what I've read and what I've heard it seems kind of cut and dried."
  • He said he believes he can follow the law, be a fair and impartial juror and render a verdict based just on evidence.
  • Hogue asks what his opinion he formed about the case is. He said he didn't bring up the subject but when it came up, "I said something to the effect of 'It doesn't matter whether Mr. Arbery was guilty of stealing or not... he doesn't deserve to be shot.'"
  • He says he didn't see the video but it was played at an adjacent table and he heard three distinct shots: "shot, pause, shot, pause, shot."
  • He later tells Hogue he didn't watch because he didn't want to see somebody killed because it was almost "lurid," but doesn't have a problem watching during trial because "it takes the voyeuristic view out of it."
  • "My thought was that the space between it seemed like it was more calculated than just a passionate thing," he said.
  • He reiterates that he does not think that someone running through a neighborhood should be shot even if they've done anything wrong. 
  • Hogue asks if he knows what citizen's arrest is. He said the only time he's heard of it is on the Andy Griffith show. 
  • He agrees he could give "fair and meaningful consideration" to the defense of citizen's arrest and self defense.
  • Gough jokes about them being Facebook friends, asks about his job, what kind of vehicle he drives, what radio stations he listens to on his commute, and finally if he has opinions about Bryan. He says no.
  • He rejoins the panel.

Day Two: 

Court Proceedings Begin

  • The second day of jury selection is underway. Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley has taken the bench.
  • The defendants and their attorneys are seated to the right of the assembly room, the prosecution is on the left.
  • They are be starting with a completely different panel of prospective jurors than yesterday. (12 of the initial 20 prospective jurors were dismissed on Monday afternoon.)
  • Walmsley began by thanking the panel for their time and noting that this is a high-profile case.
  • “Many of you knew when you got your summons that you would be involved in a case that in this community, is of some note,” he said.
  • “We can’t do what we do in the Superior Court without members of the community coming down and making themselves available for jury selection… We can’t do this without you.”
  • Jurors have been sworn in.
  • Asked whether their minds were perfectly impartial between the state and the accused, four of the 20 prospective jurors raised their hands, indicating they were not.

Group Questioning

  • Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski is questioning the prospective jurors as a group. It appears a few of them personally know some of the figures in this high-profile case.
  • Juror No. 62 raised his hand and said he knew Greg McMichael and previously had law enforcement experience. He also knows Glynn County Schools police Chief Rod Ellis, who could be called as a witness at trial.
  • Another woman, juror No. 41, said she knows William “Roddie” Bryan.
  • Juror No. 50 raised his hand and said he knows Waycross Judicial Circuit DA George Barnhill, who was previously assigned the case after former DA Jackie Johnson.
  • Juror No. 65, a Black woman, said she knows Ahmaud Arbery’s father, Marcus.
  • Another man said he previously served as foreman in a trial and that they were able to reach a verdict.
  • One potential juror, who said he is older than 70 and does not want to serve on this case, has also been on a jury before.
  • One person raised their hand and said they know current Brunswick DA Keith Higgins, who ousted Johnson during last year’s election.
  • Three people previously served in the military and four said they had previous law enforcement training.
  • Eight people said they had been prosecuted for a crime, and at least a dozen of the 20 said they own firearms.  
  • Jurors 42, 65 39 raised their hands when asked if they knew anyone in the room.
  • The defense has just finished questioning the group. Jason Sheffield, who represents Travis McMichael, asked the first round of questions:
  • “The gaps between your name tags represent the folks who didn’t come today,” Sheffield said, thanking them for showing up for jury duty.
  • No. 62 said again that he knows Greg McMichael.
  • No. 39, who was seated in the front row, said he knows Bryan.
  • Four people said they have “negative feelings” about Travis McMichael, and three said they had negative feelings about his father Greg.
    Two of the 20 potential jurors they had harbor negative feelings toward Bryan.
  • At least seven potential jurors said there are no guns in their homes.
  • Three people, Jurors 39, 50 and 72, said they vote based on the issue of guns.
  • One potential juror, No. 42, a Black man, said he’s participated in racial justice demonstrations.
  • Five people said they support the Black Lives Matter Movement.
  • Walmsley has called a 10-minute recess before ahead of individual questioning.  

Juror 85

  • Walmsley said Juror No. 85, who is 85 years old, took a while to leave the room and made a comment about whether or not he had to serve given his age.
  • He was just letting the attorneys know.
  • He was brought a chair during group questioning because the bench was uncomfortable.
  • State makes a motion to excuse juror 85 for cause, the 85-year-old with health concerns mentioned earlier.

Juror 39

  • Juror No. 39, a white man, who has been brought into the room.
  • He said he knew George Barnhill.
  • Juror No. 39 says he is an acquaintance of Diego Perez, a neighbor of the McMichaels who was one of the first people on the scene after Arbery was killed. (Perez assisted the McMichaels in another search for someone they thought was breaking into homes about two weeks before the fatal shooting)
  • He said Bryan “looks familiar,” but added he’s lived in the community for [a long time.]
  • He also said he clicked on some of court documents listed on the clerk’s website before appearing for jury duty on Monday. They were listed alongside instructions for jury selection.
  • Asked whether he can set aside the information he learned, the juror said he could.
  • “I’m still leaning one way or the other. I just don’t know what kind of evidence is going to present,” he told Dunikoski. “I just don’t know what’s going to happen.”
  • He acknowledged that everyone in the community is familiar with the case to some degree.
  • “We’re looking for jurors who can base their verdict on the evidence from this witness stand, and some people can’t do that,” Dunikoski told him.
  • Bob Rubin is questioning him now.
  • Juror No. 39 said [knows]Rod Ellis. He said earlier that he thought he recognized another potential juror, but realized after seeing him without a mask outside the courtroom that he was mistaken.

Juror 41

  • Juror No. 41, a white woman, was brought into the room.
  • Said her husband and father-in-law know Bryan.
  • The mother told attorneys she was the victim of domestic abuse in her previous marriage.
  • “You watch it on TV, you see it on Facebook and everything that’s in the media to see, I know,” the woman said.
  • Questioned and sent back to jury room.
  • No. 42 was struck for cause after saying they believed all the defendants should be convicted on all counts, according to the attorneys
    (Both the prosecution and the defense agreed)

Juror 44

  • Juror No. 44, a white woman, was brought in for individual questioning.
  • Said she supports the Black Lives Matter movement and is a mother. She said she wants to teach her daughter to respect everyone.
  • “I don’t have to worry about being approached because of the color of my skin, or because they way I walk or the way I talk.”
  • She said earlier that she believed Black people were unfairly treated in the criminal justice system.
  • Jury No. 44 said her husband has followed the case closely and has a negative view of the defendants.
  • “When I got the jury summons, my husband was adamantly against the defendants,” she said.
  • The woman said she believes she could be fair and impartial and would refrain from discussing the case with her husband at home.
  • “I don’t know what happened. The only people who know what happened were there,” she said after being asked about her opinion of the case.
  • She said she wants to do her civic duty, but fears possible repercussions in her personal life if she is selected to be a juror.
  • Sheffield asked more about her stance on race and whether she believes it played a role in the case.
  • “We can’t go around our daily lives with our eyes closed and not see something that’s been ingrained in us since we were kids,” she said.

Juror 42 & 50 (dismissed)

  • Juror No. 42 was a Black man who said he’s participated in racial justice demonstrations
  • Juror No. 50 has been dismissed. Both sides agreed but no cause was given in court.

Juror 48

  • They are now questioning juror No. 48, a young woman who said she is hearing impaired and doesn’t have reliable transportation to and from court.
  • “I saw the news footage and I saw the video footage of the crime, and I’ve already formed a guilty opinion of the crime.”
  • “I think that they’re guilty,” she said.
  • She said she has discussed the case extensively with her and believes her opinion has already been formed.
  • No. 48 has been dismissed. No objection from the state.

Juror 52

  • Prosecutors interviewed Juror No. 52, a woman.
  • She previously worked as a reading interventionist at a magnet school in Charleston, SC
  • She’s lived in Brunswick for nearly eight years, moved to the area for her ex-husband’s job. 
  • The woman said while her husband was in law enforcement, she sees “the good and bad” in the profession.
  • She said she has seen the video of the shooting at least once, but couldn’t recall exactly how many times.
  • “I just remember thinking I didn’t want to watch it again,” she told Bob Rubin.
  • The woman says she doesn’t watch the news, but gets her information from following local media organizations on Facebook. 
  • She told Bob Rubin has followed the case, but not extensively. She has also shared articles about the case online.
  • She’s a member of at least two Facebook community groups, she told Laura Hogue, one of the attorneys representing Greg McMichael.
  • “At the very beginning, I was curious about it since it’s in our community,” she said. “Some of the things I’d post, I didn’t even read the entire article.”
  • The woman said the majority of the comments posted online about the shooting had been negative.

Juror 56

  • Attorneys have dismissed juror No. 56, a gray-haired retiree.
  • The man said he is the full-time caregiver of his mother, who has medical issues. Taking care of her is a full-time job, the man told prosecutors. 
  • “Normally my wife would take care of her but she’s going to be traveling,” he said, adding that she’s going to California until mid-November.
  • He was struck with cause. No objections.

Juror 62

  • Juror No. 62, the man who said he knew Greg McMichael.
  • He’s also looking to become a Glynn County police officer himself.
  • Asked about his relationship with Greg McMichael, he said: “He’s a friend of my father’s and he’s been over to our house multiple times.”
  • The potential juror also said he’s met Jackie Johnson “on a number of occasions”
  • After questioning him, attorneys sent him back into the assembly room.

Juror 72

  • Juror #72 appears to be a white woman in her 20s or 30s. 
  • [She] owns firearms. Her father [...] a friend taught her how to use firearms.
  • Dunikoski is questioning her. 
  • She said she gets her information from the case from news outlets and social media and she has publicly expressed her opinion that "it wasn't justified what happened to Ahmaud Arbery and I believe that I don't believe in vigilante justice." 
  • She believes this was a hate crime, but told prosecutors [she] understands the defendants are not being charged with that.
  • When asked if she can put aside all she's heard and decide the case based on the facts of the case, she responds "absolutely." 
  • "I think I've always been a pretty objective person," she said.
  • She was the victim of a break-in about 10 years ago while living in Brunswick.
  • She considers the Confederate flag to be a racist symbol, that police don't always treat Black people, POC and white people the same and supports BLM. 
  • She said her opinion on police and BLM would not affect her ability to judge the evidence in this case.
  • She said her negative feelings about defendants come from the media, but can "absolutely" give them a fair trial.

Judge Frustrated By Slow Pace

  • Walmsley urged attorneys on both sides to move quickly.
  • “Just remember we’ve got a 1 o’clock panel of 20 coming in and would like to move things along.”
  • The pace of jury selection is frustrating Walmsley, who urged both the prosecution and defense to speed things along.
  • A second panel of 20 potential jurors was supposed to be assembled at 1, but Walmsley is sending them home until Wednesday.
  • “I do not have the ability to just store people or keep them longer than planned,” the judge said. “I am not comfortable with this… At the rate we’re going, all these plans we have to move these panels through are not going to work.”
  • The judge is shifting to morning panels only. We're currently on Panel 2, Panel 3 (which would have been today's afternoon panel) has been released. Tomorrow Panel 4 will come in. 
  • Panel 5 will move to Thursday of next week at 8:30 a.m. and so on. The afternoon panels are being pushed to the next available morning through 15. This gives us extra panels beyond the two weeks.
  • Rubin asks the judge if he can ask jurors how they plan to judge the case solely based on evidence. Walmsley said that kind of question is almost like a challenge to the jurors.
  • "The fact that they're willing to try is what the court is looking at when it comes to strikes for cause," Walmsley said.

Juror 73

  • Juror #73 being brought in now, she appears to be a white woman. She owns a gun. 
  • She supports BLM and agrees police don't treat Black people and white people equally, but said that won't impact her judgment in the case.
  • "No one should have to fear going out because of their color," she told prosecutors. "I believe that Black people don't get treated the same as white people."
  • She said she typically doesn't watch the news but when Arbery's death happened it was hard to avoid. 
  • When asked if she's seen the video she replies: "If I have it's been a long time."
  • Jason Sheffield asks Juror [73] if the video has shaped her thoughts about the case and she says no, because she can't remember it.
  • He asks if she still thinks a crime has been committed. She initially says she doesn't know then when asked again says "a crime was committed." She agrees she can accept the presumption of innocence.
  • Sheffield asks if there is anything about this case that has racist overtones or racist tendencies and she responds "I feel like it could" but is open to the idea it might not be.
  • Greg McMichael's attorney Laura Hogue is questioning her now.
  • Hogue asks about her early views on race and the judge has the juror step out and briefly reprimands her for telling the court in front of the juror what she's allowed to ask. 
  • The judge calls the juror back in and she tells Hogue she has discussed the case with friends and family.
  • Kevin Gough questions her briefly about her background, her decision to buy a gun and her family. She rejoins the panel.
  • Hogue again asks the judge if she can ask about their early views on race.

Juror 76

  • Juror #76 appears to be a white man in his 60s. 
  • He has served on a jury as a foreperson.
  • Owns two guns
  • He knows a woman on the witness list.
  • A prosecutor asks him if he's looked into the case and why. He appears to get a little emotional and the prosecutor asks him if he needs a moment. He replies "It's a little nervous I appreciate this opportunity."
  • He's about a 5/10 in terms of his knowledge of the case and says he can make a decision solely based on the evidence.
  • "I just get a little choked up at times," he later tells Bob Rubin. "It's all just my personality. I'm an emotional person."
  • He tells Rubin he makes decisions by doing research and educating himself.
  • "I'm pretty anal and very meticulous," he said.
  • Kevin Gough questions him briefly about church, where he's previously lived, the gun he owns, his thoughts on open carry. He says he only has a problem with open carrying when the person looks suspicious.

Juror 79

  • Juror #79, appears to be a white woman in her 30s or 40s. 
  • She has been robbed at gunpoint, does not own firearms ("I'm just not comfortable with them. I'm all for guns I'm scared of them"). 
  • She knows someone who had a negative experience law enforcement - but said she could be open-minded in this case. 
  • She believes police may not treat POC and white people equally. "I think a lot of times they profile Blacks"
  • "There's probably a lot of facts that the public is not aware of too, I don't want to draw a decision just on hearsay," she told prosecutors.
  • She's worried about cameras because Brunswick is a small town, but said she thinks she can be fair and impartial.
  • No questions from the defense, she rejoins the panel.

Juror 80

  • Juror #80 She's a POC, born [outside the US]. 
  • She has a speech problem and had a stroke a few years ago, which she said makes her forgetful and can make it difficult to understand new things. 
  • She said mentally she doesn't feel prepared to serve. ("I don't feel qualified to make life decisions for other people.")
  • State moves to strike for cause, defense agrees.

Juror 88

  • Juror #88 appears to be a white man in his 60s or 70s
  • Was the victim of a burglary
  • On his questionnaire indicated he didn't feel McMichaels were justified in their actions. 
  • He said he looked online when he first heard about the case and the video caught his attention. 
  • The manner in which they chased him was "very excessive" and "pretty imposing." 
  • He said the defendants could've easily identified Arbery was unarmed and not a threat before using "deadly force." 
  • He said he reviewed the video after receiving his summons and still felt their actions weren't justified.
  • "I still felt the same way I thought they shot and killed the guy," he said.
  • "I don't think I can. I think I am where I am," he said, when asked if he could be objective. He is later struck for cause.

Juror 89

  • Juror #89 appears to be a white woman in 40s, 50s 
  • Knows [multiple] other jurors
  • Owns multiple guns.
  • [Family issue] has been really difficult for her [...] and she's not sure if it will affect her jury service.
  • She believes the defendants are guilty based on news and the video. 
  • "Taking the law into your own hands, I don't believe or feel that citizen's arrest is meant to be that way," she told prosecutors. "You don't chase down someone."
  • But, she said she would be able to render a fair verdict based on the evidence. "I would think so but like I said I don't know if the loss of my husband and my emotions would interfere with that."
  • Sheffield expresses concern that her attention will be divided and she gets emotional as he asks what triggers her.
  • She says through tears that she's not sure if she can be fair and impartial but that she would try. 
  • She rejoins the panel.

Attorneys discuss three questioned jurors

  • The McMichael and Bryan counsel challenge Juror #72 for cause. Sheffield said she expressed opinion that whatever happened wasn't justified, qualified it as "vigilante justice" and "a hate crime," she used emotion to describe Arbery's loss of life and said she knows all about the case.
  • Hogue said there were three instances she seemed to be aware of how she's supposed to answer, including her response to her own break-in, the no trespassing signs on her property and her relationship to her father a retired deputy marshal/the criminal justice system. She said her belief it was a hate crime based on her time growing up here. 
  • Dunikoski said this juror absolutely said she will follow the law and "have a clean slate in her head."
  • Judge said juror on individual voir dire that her info came from news outlets and had expressed an opinion based on that. But then she said she's always been pretty objective and willing to learn and set that opinion aside. During defense examination, she indicated she could step back from that. Denies the motion.
  • Sheffield challenges Juror #73 because she stood by her belief a crime has been committed, was not familiar with the presumption of innocence, and learned about the case on the news. 
  • Hogue read from the juror's questionnaire and took issue with her response that "I know that Mr. Arbery was shot and killed while he was on a run" and that "no one should have to fear because of their color" re: BLM support. She also pointed out that the juror said a crime was committed and "I feel like race could play a role in this case."
  • Judge decides to strike her based on three of her answers about what she knows about the facts of the case (ie Arbery was gunned down), despite the fact that she said she didn't have a fixed opinion.
  • Rubin challenges Juror #89 because she [...] was having difficulty maintaining her composure. Hogue makes a similar point about her emotions may interfere with her concentration and composure ("There will be tears in this courtroom likely from the witness stand.") Gough says what they did with the juror is wrong. ("I feel that we failed here...this is a brutal trial for any juror physically, emotionally and mentally.")
  • Prosecutors argue she was jovial before her husband and triggers were mentioned.
  • Judge grants the motion because she expressed her opinion the defendants were guilty and that individuals are responsible to call the proper authorities 
  • "I have serious concerns she would be able to make it through a trial of the length this particular case is going to demand."

Court Adjourned 

  • The judge calls the jury back in and tells them they are going to remain as available jurors in this case and will not be excused.
  • "You remain as qualified jurors in this case and until instructed otherwise by the court," Walmsley said. "At a minimum until otherwise instructed by the court you are potential jurors." 
  • He reminds them they cannot discuss this case or go looking for information about the case or visit the locations mentioned.
  • "We can't do this without you," he said.
  • And we're adjourned until 8:30 a.m. tomorrow.

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